A mounting workload can turn into a frustrating avalanche before you can even blink. If you're getting buried at your job, the resulting stress and aggravation will make the situation even worse. Stress has a negative effect on work productivity, according to the American Psychological Association, and might cause you to fall even further behind. Getting a handle on your workload may take a little time, but it's well worth the results.
Organization is vital if you want to get your workload under control. When you're disorganized, you waste time looking for the things you need to do your work. Disorganization adds unnecessary stress to your situation as well. The level of organization and tools you need to get your stuff together depends on your job. If you're constantly going to meetings, an electronic organizer makes keeping your schedule straight easier. Invest in desk organizational tools, such as paper sorting trays, if you're pushing a lot of pencils at your desk.
Your workload may include jobs that aren't yours or tasks that shouldn't be your priority. Once you've got yourself organized, you can analyze your current workload and compare it to your actual duties so you know what work is crucial and what can wait. Review your job description, past performance reviews, and your work's current reward system to get an idea of what your priorities are. If you find you don't have the right support and tools for your job, work on getting them, and don't be afraid to speak to your boss if you're unclear about your role.
Use time management to maximize the amount of work you can get done in the time you have available each day. Everyone is different, so you'll need to tailor your own plan to use your time more efficiently. Start by figuring out how you're currently using your time. You might create a time log and write down all of your activities during work hours over a period of time, such as a week. When you're done, review the entries to determine how much time you actually control and identify problem areas, such as unnecessary interruptions. Eliminate as many time drains as you can. If you find you've got a serious problem with unnecessary interruptions, such as co-workers constantly coming into your office, create a plan to minimize them. For instance, in the scenario with the co-workers, you can start keeping your door closed and put up a sign indicating you need quiet at certain times of the day.
Don't be shy about delegating if you've got a heavy workload and support staff. If you delegate, you can spread some of your work around and make your deadlines. Delegate work to employees who can handle the task. If you delegate tasks to employees who aren't qualified to do the job, you'll create more unnecessary work and frustration for yourself later, when you're fixing mistakes.
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